Tag Archives: Health

Problems Sleeping? How Feng Shui Can Help

SleepFeng Shui to some is a science.  Literally translated in English as “wind water,” amongst its practitioners Feng Shui deals with basic scientific principles of energy and balance.  To others, Feng Shui is considered more of an art form as it deals with artistic principles like “harmony.”   Whether an art or a science, Feng Shui is the arrangement of objects and space within an environment which has the objective of there being sufficient “chi,” which is considered the essence of life, energy flow within the environment.  Chi has two components: (1) the “yang” which is like fire and energy, and (2) the “yin” which is passive, stationary and soothing.

Feng Shui is also composed of 5 elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.  These Feng Shui elements interact between themselves in certain ways, generally defined as the Productive and Destructive cycles. Each Feng Shui element is represented by a specific color, and color is the easiest way to use the five elements principle to bring more harmony into your space with Feng Shui.  So when taken in the context of creating an environment to promote better sleep, utilize principles of Feng Shui with sufficient chi to help you meet your objective.

Feng Shui suggests that bedrooms should be designed with more yin, creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere, and the placement of the bed is of crucial importance. Feng Shui dictates that the bed one sleeps in must be diagonal from the doorway so that person who sleeps in the bed can see anyone who wants to enter into the room, and yet is not directly in the pathway of the door. In addition, the bed cannot be placed directly under a window since bad chi can enter through the window and disrupt sleep or one could lose good chi through it during the night.  The bed should also not have been owned by anyone else since bad chi can remain in the mattress.  King sizes beds, plants and flowers should not be in a bedroom shared by a couple as king sized beds are not good for couples and plants and flowers in the bedroom not good for romance. This can cause multiple problems and potentially disrupt many a nights rest.

Additionally, Feng Shui dictates that bedrooms to be slept in are not to be beneath a toilet on the upper floor as it flushes unhappy chi down from above (which is definitely not recommendable since it is 365 nights out of the year the potential exists for bad chi to be flushed downward thereby causing many restless nights of sleep).  Televisions and mirrors or anything that may reflect a couple in bed are to be covered when not in use since it could foster infidelity or third-party interference.  Do not store anything under the bed or place mattresses directly on the floor and finally, avoid bright reds in the bedroom.

Utilizing Feng Shui in the bedroom can make the difference between having a good night’s rest and a restless night. Put in simpler terms, Feng Shui to promote better sleep just makes good sense.

First published at Helium.com

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Caffeine Consumption and Sleep Disorders

Caffeine ConsumptionCaffeine is a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant.  Derived from Xanthine, it is a methylated alkaloid and has been consumed since the Stone age, where people found that chewing the seeds, bark, or leaves of certain plants eased fatigue, stimulated awareness, and elevated the mood before they even knew what caffeine was. It wasn’t until much later that it was discovered to extract the caffeine from these items by dipping them in hot water.  Caffeine, however, was actually discovered in 1819 by the German chemist Friedrich Ferdinand Runge who isolated relatively pure caffeine for the first time.

Caffeine is found naturally in many plant species where it acts as a natural pesticide as it paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding upon the plant. High levels of caffeine have been found in the soil of surrounding coffee bean seedlings. It is understood that caffeine has a natural function as a pesticide and as a seed germination inhibitor of other nearby coffee seedlings giving it a better chance of survival.

The most commonly used sources of caffeine today are tea, and to a lesser extent cocoa bean.  In global commerce, caffeine is surpassed only by petroleum in global trade.  It is available in almost every soft-drink and used as the number 1 additive to beverages, which people consume approximately 56 gallons of yearly. The average American consumes approximately 218mg of caffeine per day, 75% of those milligrams of which are from coffee.

These figures establish in the least the probability that the average American currently does or will suffer from disrupted sleep, since the daily caffeine consumption levels are in excess of the level at which caffeine begins to affect normal sleep patterns:  as little as 200mg of caffeine can disrupt the normal sleeping patterns of the average adult. In comparison, an acute overdose of caffeine can occur usually in excess of about 300 milligrams, dependent on body weight and level of caffeine tolerance and can result in a state of central nervous system over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication.

However, the more obvious direct link between caffeine consumption and sleep disorders, is that it has been clinically established and upon proper diagnosis labeled “caffeine induced sleep disorder,” the criteria of which a proper diagnosis would include the following:

  1. The level of sleep disturbance with which a patient presents himself would warrant clinical intervention or attention;
  2. Laboratory findings and physical examination indicate sleep disorder to be a direct result of caffeine consumption;
  3. The sleep disturbance cannot be attributable to another mental disorder;
  4. Narcolepsy and breathing related disorders have been ruled out;
  5. The sleep disturbance is not exclusively during periods of delirium;
  6. The sleep disturbance has caused and continues to cause significant social, occupational and other functional impairments.

REFERENCES

R. Gregory Lande, D. (n.d.). Caffeine Related Psychiatric Disorders. Retrieved January 10, 2010, from MEDSCAPE:  http://emedicine.medscape.com/ article/290113-overview

First Published at Helium.com

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Sleep Disorders and Dysomnia

Dyssomnia is one of the two major categories of primary sleep disorders or sleep disorders that are not caused by other mental disorders, medications, drug dependencies, or other medical conditions and are a broad classification for sleep disorders that make it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep. There are over thirty sleep disorders recognized as dyssomnias and they are categorized into three major groups: intrinsic, extrinsic and circadian rhythm.

The twelve intrinsic sleep disorders are those that originate from within the body internally being the first category of the three groups, and cover such sleep disorders as:

restless legs syndrome or the irresistible urge to move legs to relieve sensations which may be caused by iron deficiency; periodic limb movement disorder; central and obstructive sleep apnea syndromes which symptoms may include: waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat, occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation, sleepiness during the day, morning headaches, forgetfulness, mood changes and a decreased interest in sex which may be caused by obesity, an obstruction in the airway in the case of obstructive sleep apnea or an imbalance in the brain’s respiratory control center in the case of central sleep apnea, and several other factors; post traumatic, idiopathic and recurrent hypersomnias which can be caused by brain damage, clinical depression, uremia, fibromyalgia or as the result of a side effect of taking certain medication. narcolepsy which appears to be caused by a genetic predisposition; sleep state misperception; and central alveolar hypo-ventilation syndrome, among others.

The second category of dyssomnias falls into the extrinsic sleep disorders, or those that are caused through external environmental or behavioral causes, and cover such sleep disorders as:

inadequate sleep hygiene; environmental sleep disorder; insomnia which can be caused by hormonal shifts, other mental disorders, and numerous other factors, along with ten other recognized extrinsic sleep disorders.

The third category of dyssomnias falls into circadian rhythm disorders involving our natural biological clocks that are cyclical and based on 24-hours. Those disorders are:

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS); Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome; and jet-lag, as well as 3 other recognized circadian rhythm sleep disorders

for which symptoms of these sleep disorders may include but are not limited to: difficulty initiating sleep and maintaining sleep, daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, headaches and gastrointestinal distress and can be caused by numerous factors.

Depending upon the category of the sleep disorder, the true causes of many that are created internally are still under investigation and remain a mystery. But, even though causal effects are under investigation, therapies are available for many, and as a generalization of most sleep disorders, most require some type of lifestyle modification.

First Published at Helium.com

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